REVIEW: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff // I finally read it… and didn’t love it??

illuminaeTitle: Illuminae

Author(s): Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Romance

Format: Hardcover

Page Count: 608

Release Date: October 20, 2015



This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.



As you can tell by the title of this post, I wasn’t blown away by this book like everybody else.

Don’t get me wrong, I really really really wanted to love this book. The entire book community basically praises this book. I don’t have a problem with being the only person in the community that dislikes a book, but I truly wanted to enjoy this.

I’ve literally read one semi-bad review for this book and 99.9% of my Goodreads friends have read and loved it. I was almost guaranteed to love it as well. But unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

So, I’m a black sheep and that’s okay.

“Miracles are statistical improbabilities. And fate is an illusion humanity uses to comfort itself in the dark. There are no absolutes in life, save death.”

While reading this book I kept on asking myself when it would get better, when it would start getting interesting. Loads of people told me that they didn’t get invested in the story until around page 150-200.

I was bored and lost until page 250.

Is something wrong with me? I kept asking myself. Am I just dumb? 

I don’t think I am completely. The format of this book just really threw me off and I wasn’t able to adjust until the halfway point. Which is unfortunate, because like I said, I really wanted to like this book.

I also found the writing to be… a bit dull. *hides behind laptop as missiles are fired at my head* I’m sorry but the writing honestly bored me to death! Maybe it’s since it’s all formal space military speech or whatever, but the format along with the writing made me want to fall asleep.

This style of writing did work well when it came to AIDAN’s sections, as well as the military commanders and such but it still bored me. If the writing is bland, then the entire story flops.

I did like the humor though! The humor in this book was the saving grace for me. There were loads of witty comebacks and sarcasm, which is my type of humor.

“You have me. Until the last star in the galaxy dies, you have me.” 

Something I did like – surprisingly – is the romance. Kady and Ezra… gosh I ship them so much y’all! And can I just commend Amie and Jay – whomever was in control of writing Kady – because she didn’t annoy me, not once! If y’all didn’t know by now, I have a bad rep with heroines in YA books. They usually annoy the crap out of me so having Kady not annoy me even once in this entire 600-page book says something.

And Ezra *swoon*. That dude is the definition of Romeo. Let me just say that that ending – I don’t want to spoil it for those that haven’t read the book – made me smile like a lunatic.

I think that Kaufman and Kristoff did a wonderful job evening out the romance, humor, action, and feels perfectly. It took only *cough* half the book, but from thereon out the story had me sitting at the edge of my seat and sweating in anticipation.

Something I also would have liked to see more is diversity. There were some Asian characters, but aside from that, I’m 99.9% sure that Kady and Ezra were white. There was also the mention of a gay character but he was mentioned for like two seconds.


My Rating: 3.5 Stars

I don’t need to recommend this book to anybody haha. If you’re reading this you’ve either already read it or are planning on reading it sometime soon. Although it wasn’t really my cup of tea, it was still an okay read for me. I do own Gemina already so expect a review within the next few months if I don’t get lazy.


Purchase This Book:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository

Have you read Illuminae yet? Are you planning on reading it? Do you agree or disagree with me?

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33 thoughts on “REVIEW: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff // I finally read it… and didn’t love it??


    I aslo find the sci fi NOT EXPLAINED WELL?? just me?


    I am glad SOMEONE FINALLY AGREES WITH ME ON THIS BOOK. I don’t think I’ll be reading Gemina any time soon?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Aww…I absolutely loved this one so I’m so sad to hear you didn’t. 😦 I can definitely see where you’re coming from though. Nonetheless, thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, I have this on hold at my library. And, like you, I’ve heard such good things about it that I’ll have to just read and see for myself. Glad to hear that you enjoyed the romance part though. I tend to be annoyed by YA romance far more often than I am entertained.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent review! I ended up DNFing Illuminae, and I have no plans to pick it up again. Although the hype for the third book is kind of getting me excited.

    I didn’t know you weren’t a fan of most YA heroines! Do you think you’ll write a discussion post on that? Or have you already? I’d love to read it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Somehow the hype for Obsidio has gotten to me as well haha! Which is why I decided to finally read the books myself. I’ve mentioned it only a handful of times so you probably missed it. I haven’t written a post on that… maybe I should!! I’ll add it to my list.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ahahha I totally understand how it’s not for everyone!! The formatting throws everyone off, and apparently the beginning is slow??? Tho I didn’t feel it haha. THAT PLOT TWIST THO OMGGGGG. I absolutely love Ezra omg ❤ ❤ <3333 And I'm glad I wasn't the only one who wanted more diversity??? I'm pretty sure all the MCs in this series are white (except for one who I THINK is dark-skinned) soooo yeah.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah it’s certainly not for everyone. I don’t know how you missed the 250 pages of slowness in the beginning haha! xD Which person did you think was dark-skinned?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Omo!! This is one of my favourite books ever! But I’m sorry you didn’t love this as much as you thought you would, I understand about the format, it just people either seems to love it or loathe it, it could take some time to get used to it, for me, I loved it. But anyway, I hope you enjoy the next book in this series when you pick it up. Great review.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I get where you’re coming from. The military jargon and multimedia format can get repetitive and boring to read. The romance was definitely one of the books redeeming aspects. Even though I personally really liked the whole space zombie/crazy AI/race thing, I’m with you when you said you’ll pick up Gemina in a few months if you’re not feeling lazy haha. Nice review 🙂 It’s always nice to hear an unpopular opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The zombie aspect was really cool! I had to ask people on Goodreads if I was right about that happening though because the format was still confusing me haha! Thanks for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Well I’ve heard amazing things about the audiobook. I heard there’s an entire cast of different people doing voices, special sound effects, etc. You might enjoy it more on audio.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I totally understand! My review is scheduled to go up later this month but when I finally decided to give this book a try I found that I just couldn’t get into it. EVERYBODY loves this series so I was hesitant to start it, but excited too! I don’t really know exactly what it was but I just felt bored and kept getting distracted and honestly I didn’t finish it. I have a stack of books on my floor waiting to be read and I didn’t feel like forcing myself to finish this one (although maybe I just didn’t give it enough of a chance? Who knows, maybe someday I’ll try it again). I know Jay Kristoff is an amazing writer and I’m sure Amie Kaufman is too, but this one just didn’t connect for me.
    Great review! I’m glad I wasn’t the only one not blown away!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES! Someone else that feels the same! Haha, I completely understand! It took me nearly a month to read because I just couldn’t get myself to pick it up. How far did you make it? It got interesting for me about halfway, but I wasn’t really hooked until the last hundred or so pages.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I got maybe a third of the way through I think? I sort of ended up just looking at the pictures and skimming so I gave up and went for a different book. I’ll probably get back to it if only to find out how it all ends haha And who knows, maybe I’ll be surprised and love it


  9. I’ve read both Illuminae and Gemina and I cannot stand Illuminae. It took me ages to get into the format and I couldn’t click with Kady or Ezra. I can’t remember why exactly, but there was something about them that I found offputting. Out of both books, I think I loved Gemina so much more because I was expecting the multimedia format, and the main characters of Hanna and Nik were a fabulous duo. I can’t remember if it was the same for Illuminae, but Gemina also had some added details and references that made my YA-loving self rather giddy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh! There’s different main characters in Gemina?? I didn’t know that!! Thanks for the heads up, and hopefully I’ll like Gemina more like you did 🙂


      1. I hope so too. Finding out that Gemina had different characters influenced me to pick it up, otherwise I don’t think I would have bothered.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve read Illuminae a few months ago and I was absolutely blown away! I was scared it wouldn’t live up to the hype but I’m glad it did (at least for me). I do understand why you didn’t like it AS much tho I know that a lot of people feel the same way! I’ve heard a lot of people say that Gemina is the better book of the two and while I like both of them equally, I think you should give it a chance! It takes some time for the action to happen but once you get to that point, it’s a wild rollercoaster ride! Great review 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Glad you hear you loved it!! Yeah, it just wasn’t my type of thing I guess. It took a while to get used to the format but you’re right, it did get better towards the end when there was a lot of action happening 🙂 I’ve heard the same about Gemina, I hope I’ll enjoy it more!

      Liked by 1 person

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